Pirates Game 11 Recap: Rotation looks great

I missed the game 10 recap, but the story for the last two games can pretty much be summed up by the starting pitching lines:

Game 10 (Paul Maholm): 7 IP, 4 H, 3 BB, 0 ER, 2 K
Game 11 (Ian Snell): 7 IP, 4 H, 2 BB, 0 ER, 3 K

This game marks the third time this week that the Pirates have shut out their opponents, with Maholm, Snell, and Zach Duke leading the way. For a rotation that was one of the worst in the majors last year, this recent turn of events is very inspiring.

Maholm has allowed just two earned runs in 20.2 innings over three starts this year, with the Pirates sitting with a 3-0 record in his starts.

Duke has allowed one earned run in 15.1 innings over his two starts, including a complete game shutout on Monday against the Astros.

Snell struggled in his first start, allowing six earned runs in four innings. In his second start, he allowed two earned runs in six innings, but didn’t receive any help from the offense. That wasn’t the case today.

Craig Monroe led the way with not one, but two, three run homers. Nate McLouth, Freddy Sanchez, Ryan Doumit, and Andy LaRoche all had multiple hits, with LaRoche going 3 for 4.

All around it was a great game, with both the offense and the pitching staff coming up huge. Tomorrow Zach Duke goes for the sweep, trying to follow up on his great start from Monday. Not to discount anything Duke has done so far, but let’s consider that:

-Duke had back to back quality starts five times last year
-Duke had a 4.85 ERA in the game following his back to back quality starts
-Duke posted three quality starts in a row only twice last year
-Duke never posted more than three quality starts in a row last year

I’ve loved what Duke has done, but we’ve seen him capable of good performances in the past. The big question has been: can he do this consistently? Tomorrow will be a big test for Duke.

Here are the MVP tracker adjustments from the last two games:

-One point for Paul Maholm for his outing on Friday.

-One point for Matt Capps for the save.

-One point for Nate McLouth for breaking the game open with a two run homer.

-One point for Ian Snell for his outing today.

-One point for Craig Monroe for his two homers.

-One point for Andy LaRoche. 3 for 4 with 1 RBI.

-One point for Ryan Doumit. 3 for 4 with 3 runs and 1 RBI.

-One point for Nate McLouth. 2 for 5 with 2 runs, 1 RBI, and some good baserunning. He stole second, forcing a Doumit walk, which led to Monroe’s first three run shot. The next inning he advanced to second on a wild pitch, and scored on a Doumit double.

Other Stuff

-The Draft Prospects Tracker was updated with four pitchers going on Friday:

-Alex White pitched a one hit shutout.

-Kyle Gibson pitched a complete game, allowing three runs.

-Kendal Volz went 8.1 innings, allowing two earned runs.

-James Paxton went seven innings, allowing two earned runs.

-Grant Green and Dustin Ackley each had multi-hit games.

-I’ve added pitch count information to each of the pitcher’s pages, as well as the tracker. Not very encouraging to see a lot of these guys consistently going over 110 pitches.

-Just throwing this out there: Andy LaRoche is 5 for 10 with a walk in his last three games.

-The Pirates are 6-2 when Maholm, Duke, and Snell take the mound. They are 0-3 when Ohlendorf and Karstens take the mound (although that’s due to low run support in one of Ohlendorf’s starts).

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Tim Williams

Tim is the owner and editor in chief of Pirates Prospects. He started the site in January 2009, and turned it into his full time job during the 2011 season. Prior to starting Pirates Prospects, Tim worked with AccuScore.com, providing MLB, NHL, and NFL coverage to various national media outlets, including ESPN Insider, USA Today, Yahoo Sports, and the Wall Street Journal. He also writes the annual Prospect Guide, which is sold through the site. Tim lives in Bradenton, where he provides live coverage all year of Spring Training, mini camp, instructs, the Bradenton Marauders, and the GCL Pirates.

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